An American marketing extraordinaire, Jen Drexler knows what women want. She also knows what they aren’t telling!
Along with her partner Mary Lou Quinlan, Jen founded Just Ask a Woman more than a decade ago, a marketing firm that helps brands understand and better serve female consumers.
We first learned of her through The National, where she discusses the concept of “green-ish” – a term based on the notion that women often say one thing (the Half Truth) but do another (the Whole Truth). In an interview, she tells us how women often “talk a big game around green but don’t necessarily follow through,” and how we can influence them to be more green.
Jen, can you tell us a bit about your role at Just Ask a Woman?
I co-founded our company 12 years ago with our CEO Mary Lou Quinlan. My primary roles are servicing our consulting clients and developing content for our books, speeches and blogs.
We heard about you through a story published in The National. Ann Marie McQueen discusses formerly eco-friendly expats who “backslide” in the UAE as a result of have access to fewer “green” resources. What is the challenge facing them?
I guess my question is are they really backsliding because of fewer resources? My hunch is that they may backslide because it is easier and less expensive to not go green or they just don’t rank it as high on their value system.
You note that one of the solutions is to become “greenish.” Can you explain this to our readers?
I wouldn’t say being Green-ish is a solution but rather that it is an inevitable truth for real women living in a real world. Women want to do the right thing by their families and their environment but have to make daily compromises because of their financial resources. Green products generally cost more so women will prioritize the areas in her life where they are the most important.
What, in your opinion, is so hard about going “green”? Is this a marketing failure? A government failure to provide adequate resources to make smarter choices, or is this good ol’ fashioned laziness?
I think it comes down to cost and quality. Do organic cleansers work as well as the ones filled with chemicals? Not usually. And even if they did Americans have been trained to associate the smell of products like bleach with cleanliness and with the absence of that sensory signal they doubt the efficacy of their green cleaners.
As a marketing guru who best understands how women make consumer choices, what can we do in the Middle East to influence women to make more responsible choices?
You have to understand the barriers to green for her and then look for the opportunities to overcome them. If there aren’t enough products on shelf for her to choose from think about ways to help her make her own (water & vinegar as a cleanser, baking soda as a stain remover…)
And lastly, from a marketing perspective, how do we know we’re winning?
When women feel like they have more in their repertoire that is green versus not. Shifting the balance will be the signal that progress is being made.
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